Across the League of Ireland's history, one of the main difficulties has been playing surfaces. The move to a calendar year season with winters off was welcomed predominately for the better pitches it provided while in recent years all-weather pitches have been on the rise.
Last night Dundalk overcame Shamrock Rovers 2-1 at their home ground of Oriel Park. The playing surface this game was played out on was an all-weather pitch and speaking on commentary, Brian Kerr felt this was a grave mistake.
I know I'm repeating myself but it's not easy to keep the ball down on this surface, there's a lot of rubber sitting on top of it you can see the blackness on it. I don't like the trend, we're going towards all-weather pitches in Ireland. I saw the one up in Derry last week it is a good pitch, but it is an all-weather pitch. I don't think we should be going that road. They are banned in some leagues and if it was my call I'd ban them in our league.
There are numerous benefits of 3G pitches including low maintenance costs and availability for training as well as matches. It has also been sanctioned by FIFA.
FIFA now feels it is appropriate to use “Football Turf” as the designation for artificial surfaces installed as part of the FIFA Quality Concept. The main reasons for this are that this designation underlines the high quality of the pitches that are certified as part of the programme and the playing characteristics of “football turf” mirror the quality of natural grass pitches that is required to play the game at a very high level.
However, there have been some complaints about their use. Regardless it seems Kerr's desire will not be fulfilled and all-weather pitches will only continue to be introduced in this country.